"Each time I painted a painting it was as though my life depended on it". These were Kurt Rudolf Hoffmann's words, who officially named himself K.R.H. Sonderborg - after his birth town - in 1951 in order not to be identified as a German artist after the war. Before studying at the Landeskunstschule in Hamburg under Willem Grimm and Maria May Sonderborg spent one year taking private lessons with the painter Ewald Becker-Carus in Hamburg. He joined the artist group "Zen 49" in 1953. City impressions, inspired by trips to Paris, London and New York, city sounds and Jazz - his father was a jazz musician - played an important role in Sonderborg's work. Sonderborg was associated with American Action Painting from the early 1950s. The spontaneous application of paint was his means of creating a structure which rendered visible the creation process of a form. In this respect Sonderborg's work is closer to American action painting than to the European Informel. He exhibited works at the Biennale in Venice in 1958, the documenta in 1959 and 1964 and was awarded the prize for graphic art at the Biennale in Tokyo in 1960 and the Great International Prize for Drawings at the Biennale in São Paulo in 1963. Sonderborg taught in Stuttgart (1965), Minneapolis (1969/70) and Chicago (1986). Sonderborg was awarded the Hans-Moltener Prize in 1988. Aged 84, Sonderborg died on February 18, 2008 in Hamburg.
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